Countries That Don't Put In Place Copyright Regimes The US Likes May Be Deemed 'Cybersecurity Concerns'

from the fascinating dept

So called “cybersecurity” and “intellectual property” are two very different issues, but it seems that politicians are realizing that they get further by screaming about “cybersecurity threats” than about “intellectual property infringement.” The latest proposed appropriations bill for the State Department includes a role for a “coordinator for cyber issues” — which is an awful title. However, snuck into the job description is the fact that this person will have to create a “naughty” list of countries who are “cybersecurity concerns.” Okay, fair enough. Except, the bill goes on to define what constitutes a cybersecurity concern, noting that if this person determines that there has been a

“… pattern of incidents of cybercrime against the United States Government or United States persons, or that disrupt United States electronic commerce or otherwise negatively impact the trade or intellectual property interests of the United States….

This seems to suggest that the State Department can now shame entire countries claiming they’re a “cybersecurity concern” if the reality is that their copyright enforcement efforts are more lax. With such a broad definition, it seems like just about any country could be blamed if they don’t magically somehow stop the “negative impact” of file sharing.

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Comments on “Countries That Don't Put In Place Copyright Regimes The US Likes May Be Deemed 'Cybersecurity Concerns'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I’m glad to know that countries will no longer be allowed to get away with blatantly violating the sovereignty of the united states by suborning the illicit copying of our most precious assets – Disney movies. In time, perhaps they will mature and partake in more civilized cyber-activities, such as engaging in campaigns to covertly destroy infrastructure using computer viruses.

Anonymous Coward says:

With such a broad definition, it seems like just about any country could be blamed if they don’t magically somehow stop the “negative impact” of file sharing.

You don’t think the willful violation of someone’s rights itself is a negative impact? If you trespass on my land, you have wronged me, even if there is no actual damage. I can still recover for the trespass since you violated my rights. It seems you don’t value other people’s rights–like at all. No wonder the pirates all flock to you in droves. No wonder you don’t think there’s anything immoral about piracy. You think it’s OK to violate other people’s property rights. I still chuckle at the thought of you whining the other day about how people don’t respect “true” property rights. You’re the one who doesn’t respect them. Not at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Copyright is a completely artificial “right” that has – at this point in time – been cynically expanded by and for giant corporations at the expense of citizens.

Just because you call it a right doesn’t make it a right. Fundamentally, copyright is a limitation on the rights of others rather than a “right” in and of itself. We could have a law passed saying that people on the Internet have a “right” to not experience vexatious little trolls like you and use it to ban you from the Internet, but I think you’d agree that is an infringement on your own rights and little else.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well, if you can take things out of context and say what the hell you want, then so can I:

“I still chuckle at the thought of you whining the other day about how people don’t respect “true” property rights.”

You think property rights are funny? You don’t think they are important, do you? How would you like it if I walked into your house and used your tooth brush to comb my hair? You wouldn’t like that would you*? Would you*? Huh*? Huh*?

* Imagine that I am poking you as I say this

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you take a short cut across the corner of my lawn to get from A to B where I live you’d have trouble recovering anything at all if I did no damage to the property on the way. I might be able to recover the costs of re-seeding that part of my lawn after four or five years but that’s about it. Of course, if I have to climb over a fence to do that it’s a whole different story.

Keep in mind though that when we talk about Real Estate we’re talking what’s called Real property. Not just that but my and your rights are firmly established from more than a thousand years of jurisprudence.

Let’s move on to copyright and patent law. Neither were ever intended to establish the rights holder with the same rights that a holder of real property has. In the case of the first copyright act (1709) the major trigger wasn’t the alleged “rights” of creators but to prevent publishers from bankrupting themselves by rushing the same titles and authors to market at the same time in order to get the best sales on what were hoped would be best sellers.

All either concepts do is confer a monopoly on copying something, one in text form, the other in terms of physical inventions until they fell into the public domain. And it was a much shorter trip to the public domain then than now in recognition of that privilege and lawmakers who recognized that the less time something was held in a monopoly the better. Neither were ever intended to confer anything near the rights held by owners of real tangible property.

Now. as for the United States wanting to declare my country a security risk if we don’t follow every jot, comma, semicolon and period of how people like you in the States interpret copyright, in particular, and patent law fill your boots. We’re always high on that fiction called the 301 list.

After that you may want to talk to American and Canadian troops who, for years, served cheek by jowl in Afghanistan about just how much of a risk we are. Then you might want to kill off NORAD and NATO.

All in defense of the fantasy called intellectual “property” “rights”. Not that creators and inventors shouldn’t be rewarded, they should be. But there is a difference between real tangible property and what’s covered by copyright and patent law.

Equating your rights where real tangible property is concerned with what’s covered by copyright and patents is a false dichotomy. And a logical fallacy.

Which pretty much covers the duties defined for the “co-coordinator for cyber issues”.

You can feel what you want and post what you want but your comparison is still a fallacy and no amount of stamping your feet is going to change that.

Another Anonymous Fellow says:

Re: Re: Re:

I also live in a country where it’s not considered trespassing if you take a short cut across someones lawn. Don’t know where TtfnJohn lives, but I’m pretty sure we both reside on what is known as “the part of the planet that isn’t the USA.”
Would also like to add that in my end of the world, we don’t think of people that flies into fits of rage about someone walking on their lawn as “protecting their property,” but rather as “complete nut jobs.”

JMT says:

Re: Re:

“You don’t think the willful violation of someone’s rights itself is a negative impact?”

I don’t think the willful violation of someone’s copyright is a negative impact.

“It seems you don’t value other people’s rights–like at all.”

Actual, real, physical property rights are absolutely respected by Techdirt and it’s readers. Imaginary property rights, not so much.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

But if you have a million acres and I take one step on your land, are you really ‘hurt’?

Besides, the way copyright is abused, it’s like I do something on my own land next to yours, and you try taking me to court for ‘intruding’ on you and ‘wronging’ you, just because you can see it.

And by the way, the rest of the world doesn’t have the extreme American religion of ‘property rights’, so we don’t give a flying pig’s ear about your imaginary wrongs. Just like we laugh at the murderous gun laws you fight so hard to keep.

Hah, you might as well sue us for not wanting guns!

Anonymous Coward says:

Thomas link for H.R. 6018

Here’s a link for the Bill Summary and Status page on Thomas at the Library of Congress.

H.R. 6018 Bill Summary and Status

Latest Title: Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2013
Sponsor: Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18] (introduced 6/26/2012) Cosponsors (None)
Latest Major Action: 6/27/2012 House committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Ordered to be Reported by Voice Vote.


(Thomas has a web front-end to a rather archaic system: As a result, persistent urls have an obscure syntax. With a little help, they’re easy enough to construct, but you can’t just copy and paste.)

American Guy says:

Re: Re:

As much as the U.S. is a PITA, I don’t think China taking over the world would necessarily be a good thing. We do have a certain respect for individual liberty here in America that we also tend to push around the world. The Internet wouldn’t be nearly the same as it is today if it had grown up in China or even Europe–the First Amendment and America’s legal system had a major role in ensuring it remains open and accessible, even if there are now some special interests trying to stop it.

P.S. – When the heck did Techdirt switch to moderating all anonymous comments??

Anonymous Coward says:

people are now starting to realise that all the copyright infringement bills that have tried to be introduced (eg, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, TPP etc) under whatever disguise, were/are meant to only prop up or improve US businesses, no one elses. now all we want to happen is for the countries that are going to be/already are condemned for not doing what they can in this area to start to concentrate on what is best for their own countries and citizens, telling the US government and entertainment industries to ‘fuck off’ in the process!!

Trails (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s not about improving US business. That’s the ostensible purpose, but it’s false.

It’s about protecting legacy players with established lobbies who are threatened because reproduction of media has been rendered trivial by digital technology.

These laws bugger US business in favour of said legacy players (protectionist policies lead to inefficient market lead to getting clobbered by unencumbered outside/underground suppliers).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Ultimately it will lead to a slowdown in technological inventions because of the “court-fobia” (anyone got a better word for the fear of getting sued?) and thereby a significant disadvantage compared to other countries, when it comes to market-absorption of technology. In the long run, this IP-race will hurt the developed world hard, when it comes to getting new technologies in production.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Its becoming quite rapid, which is probably behind a lot of the IP law extremism in some sectors and in government there. “If we could only fix that everything would be coming up roses!” Only if you care for your roses, of course.

The irony is that the IP extremism is costing the USA more than it’s helping anything. So are the fantasies entertained around intellectual “property” such as the notion that it’s a “right” and not a privilege extended to people in exchange for broadening knowledge, technology and education. What the extremists don’t get is that the more extreme they become the more society at large questions extending those privileges to them and the less the society at large questions whether it is getting its end of the bargain or not. And the more society at large comes to the conclusion that it isn’t.

In the meantime emerging economies such as China, Russia, Brazil and India don’t worry their heads all that much about things like that. They’ll take what they think they need in exactly the same way the United States did “back in the day” when it was a new country.

When the USA doesn’t benefit from it’s discoveries, inventions and writings as much as it ought to the skid downwards becomes faster and less controllable.

It will be a sad day when it happens. The country that housed the most true innovations of the last couple of centuries stops being the primary source and market for those innovations we will have lost something very valuable.

James Plotkin (profile) says:

Old news...

The US Federal Government has had a list of “naughty” countries for a long time (with reference to IP)

Canada has been on the list forever. Some speculate that the list was one of the prime movers of copyright reform in this country.

While this might be an oversimplification, there’s no doubt that it played a role in the policy direction of the Conservative Party of Canada in it’s drafting of bill C-11 which will be passed any week now.

Hum haw…

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Old news...

As far as I know C-11 has moved off to the Senate which means that it’s a done deed, just lacking Royal Assent.

I doubt anything in C-11 will change out position on the 301 list as it has almost as much to do with reality as John Carter of Mars does. And it’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been or many feared it would be.

Will it get us off the list? Nahhh. we have a permanent place there, I suspect. Who needs ISOHunt when there’s all these bridges and highways that run across the border!

surfer (profile) says:


anyone not seeing this coming isn’t paying attention. the US only has two commodities that nourish its’ own GDP, and that is financial instruments and entertainment. there is no other viable product the US is capable of producing anymore. it used to be an industrial monolith, but China took that away, it used to be an electronics leader, but Japan took that away, including the automotive industry, thanks to the US rebuilding Japan after WWII. with the collapse of their financial industry in 2008 that nearly took out the entire planet, the only real item of profitability is fantasy and story telling from the music and movie industry.

this is the primary purpose behind their (MAFIAA) leverage on politics and influence over other countries. sadly, Hollywood is the main source of the world’s entertainment, legitimate or otherwise. it is going to take another 10-20 years before other countries can readily compete with the savvy of Hollywood.

mark my words, or bookmark this post, because in our lifetime’s you will see attacks on encryption such as VPNs, it will be listed as a means with which to circumvent totalitarianism being inflicted on the world. the statement will come from politicians very, very soon… ‘if you are using a VPN, you must have something to hide, and therefore a terrorist/paedophile/murderer (insert current popular fear fanaticism here).

Anonymous Coward says:

ACTA isn’t working, TPP may be on the ropes because it’s deepest, darkest, negotiation secrets may have to be exposed to Congress’s eyes. So where to hide at and still get the demands.

It’s called regulatory capture, corruption, and hypocritical actions. In this present modern day age, the US has changed from it’s self-perceived role of world police man to world corruption enforcer.

Thomas (profile) says:

Money talks

The money that the RIAA/MPAA use to bribe Congress and the various government agencies definitely produces results. We have become a bully for the entertainment industry. I’m only surprised we haven’t threatened air strikes to get countries to do the RIAA/MPAA bidding. The RIAA/MPAA has a huge voice in DOJ (many RIAA/MPAA attorneys “work” there), and of course State Department. Sometimes I wonder how they find the right people to bribe and not only do what they are bribed to but also to keep quiet about it. Corruption has taken over the U.S. Government, just like many 3rd world countries.

Anonymous Coward says:

Once again, pro-copyright people fail to think things through long term. What if a president who’s against strict IP gets elected, and puts someone in that very position who’s against tough IP? What if they start to do just the opposite of what the pro-copyright people want, abuse their power by labeling draconian IP countries a cyber-security threat?

After all, you could make an argument that by forcing people to use file sharing sites and get around those draconian laws without getting caught they’re helping to train more cyber attackers, or something stupid like that. It’s no more stupider then the logic the pro-copyright crowd would use to go after weak IP countries.

Anonymous Coward says:

U.S. also on the "cybersecurity concerns" list

Except, the bill goes on to define what constitutes a cybersecurity concern, noting that if this person determines that there has been a
“… pattern of incidents of cybercrime against the United States Government or United States persons, or that disrupt United States electronic commerce or otherwise negatively impact the trade or intellectual property interests of the United States….”

I assume they’re considering copyright infringement “cybercrime”. And obviously plenty of copyright infringement goes on in the U.S. against U.S. persons that presumably “disrupt United States electronic commerce”. So it would appear that the United States is a “cybersecurity concern”.

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